Lees-McRae riders go in for the kill at a recent short track race. From Trimble Racing blog.

What schools come to mind when you think of dominating athletic programs? If you live in the southeast you might say the University of Florida. Good choice, especially given the number of national basketball and football championships over the past few years. If you’re on the west coast you might think the University of Southern California for football (my bro’s alma mater) or UCLA for basketball (though that’s more of a historical argument these days). If you’re talking about mountain biking, there are really only two two-word answers: Fort Lewis and Lees-McRae.

How’s this for dominance: Fort Lewis (Colorado) has taken the division I team mountain biking title for the NCCA (National Collegiate Cycling Association) in 4 of the past 5 years. Lees-McRae did one better – they’re undefeated in division II since 2003! The 2008 National Collegiate Mountain Bike Championships will be actually be held on Lees-McRae’s campus at the base of Beech Mountain in western North Carolina which gives them home-trail advantage to rack up yet another team title. Incredible.

Races will be held October 24-26 and collegiate-level mountain biking events include cross country, short track, downhill (held this year at nearby Sugar Mountain Ski Resort), and Dual Slalom.

Does anyone know of any universities that offer mountain biking scholarships? It seems like location alone may go a long way toward attracting top mountain bikers to a school (UC-Boulder is always a top 5 contender in national rankings) but free $$ can’t hurt either…

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